Soraya Chemaly has a piece on the ubiquity and invisibility of everyday sexism.
A point she makes at the end should be a post-it on everyone’s forehead for a few years.
The sad fact is that while it is polite to express sexist ideas, confronting them is considered the height of rudeness and humorlessness. When a man at a neighborhood cocktail party comments rudely on my breasts or when another in a meeting interrupts me incessantly while trying to talk to other men, it is me, not them, who is considered hostile and unpleasant for saying, “My face is up here,” or “Would you please stop interrupting me?” When my children’s school fails, year after year, to teach my children a gender balanced history or enforces dress codes in sexist and homophobic ways and I am compelled to point these practices out as deleterious to girls and boys, reception to these ideas can be best described as tepid.
It’s true you know. You’re really not supposed to say anything. You’re supposed to sigh, and fume inwardly if you have to fume, and carry on as if nothing had happened. If you say anything you’re a bitch, a pain in the ass, a harpy, a Professional Victim – an ideologue, an obsessive, a keyboard warrior, a drama blogger, a source of division in a previously affectionate paradise.
Remember when I said anything about Shermer’s bit of casually smug sexism? Hoo-boy – outrage. His casually smug sexism was fine, my pointing it out was horrendous.
It’s a long long road up a high high mountain.